The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most keenly-contested T20 league in the world. Any team on a given day can topple the other side. This is one of the biggest reasons why every cricketer wishes to be a part of this cash-rich extravaganza.
Each team in the Indian Premier League has built its respective fanbase. Once the tournament gets going, these voices gain momentum. The answer to which team in the IPL is the best remains a bone of contention. For some, it is Mumbai Indians, some are ardent Chennai Super Kings followers, while others are Royal Challengers Bangalore fanatics.
If we go purely by numbers, then it is clear that Mumbai Indians are the best side in IPL. They have won five IPL titles, the most for any team and are head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
Mumbai Indians won their first IPL title in 2013 and since then they have taken the trophy home in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. The second-best side in terms of titles won in the IPL is Chennai Super Kings who have returned winners three times while Kolkata Knight Riders have been crowned champions twice.
Let’s take a detailed look at the best teams in the IPL.
1) Mumbai Indians: Matches 203 | Won 120 | Lost 83 | NR 0 | Win% 59.1
IPL titles – 5 (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020)
It won’t be an exaggeration if we say Mumbai Indians have the capability to topple a lot of the international cricket teams. The depth in the side is staggering and time and again they have proved it on the grand stage. It wasn’t always this way though. Mumbai were not a settled unit early on and only when Rohit Sharma took over captaincy midway in 2013 did they find their bearing. They won the season in 2013, then followed up with another winning performance in the year 2015 and it was no stopping the Paltan thereon. They added four more titles to their name and now are a side with all bases covered.
Mumbai have played most games in IPL history, 203 out of which they have won 106 and lost 72, which is a win percentage of 59.1! In terms of winning percentage, only Chennai Super Kings with 59.5% are ahead of Mumbai but one should also keep in mind that CSK were not part of the IPL for two seasons.
Since 2015, Mumbai have maintained a win% of 61.2 which is easily better than any other team in IPL. They have a player and team for all conditions. If the surface is assisting pacers, Mumbai boast of the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult and if there is turn on offer, there is Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya. Their batting is the best across all teams and it comes as no surprise at how easily Mumbai won IPL 2020.
Mumbai are the most successful side in the IPL in terms of titles won and with the kind of team at their disposal they don’t seem like stopping any time soon.
2) Chennai Super Kings: Matches 179 | Won 106 | Lost 72 | NR 1 | Win% 59.5
IPL titles – 3 (2010, 2011, 2018)
For the longest time, Chennai Super Kings is the side everyone wants to either be or beat. However, they have been on the decline in the last year or so. They did win the IPL in 2018 and almost backed it up with another win in 2019 but had a rather disappointing IPL 2020.
Having said that, CSK are one of the most successful teams in the competition. Their win% of 59.5 is the best in IPL history and bar 2020 they made it to the playoffs of the IPL each season they played.
The MS Dhoni-led CSK were the finalists and semi-finalists in the 2008 and 2009 seasons respectively before they finally won in 2010 and backed it up with another IPL trophy in 2011. CSK finished as runners-up in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and at the time looked unstoppable.
In 2016, CSK hit a reef when they were suspended for two years due to their management’s involvement in spot-fixing. But the team bounced back with a bang in 2018 by winning the IPL title. CSK then reached the final in 2019 where they narrowly lost to Mumbai in the final by 1 run.
The year 2020 was CSK’s worst where they could not qualify for the playoffs for the first time. They have the fan following but how long they can survive with an aging team is the real question. Dhoni and CO have proved their detractors wrong in the past. Whether or not they will be able to do it in 2021 remains to be seen.
Also Read: How many times have CSK won the IPL?
3) Kolkata Knight Riders: Matches 192 | Won 99 | Lost 93 | NR 0 | Win% 51.5
IPL titles – 2 (2012, 2014)
Kolkata Knight Riders started off their IPL with a bang but tapered off in the next three seasons. Only when Gautam Gambhir took over captaincy did KKR find their feet in the competition. Gambhir backed his players to the hilt, was not shy of experimenting and KKR reached the top very quickly. Gambhir can also be credited for unearthing two major names – Sunil Narine and Andrew Russell – in world cricket.
KKR were first crowned IPL champions in 2012. With Gambhir at the helm, they beat some of the best teams in the tournament and eventually defeated defending champions Chennai in the final game by five wickets to lift the trophy for the first time.
If you thought 2012 was impressive, KKR backed it up with another mind-boggling effort in 2014. The Kolkata-based team played some of the best cricket seen in the competition. The whole team performed in unison game after game. The batsmen scored runs, the bowling was exceptional and the captaincy on point.
KKR finished the group stage placed second and then beat table-toppers Kings XI Punjab in the finale. It was not as easy though. Chasing a truckload of runs, KKR beat KXIP by three wickets.
Kolkata haven’t managed to win a single IPL season since 2014 but they are a side one can never afford to take lightly. It comes as no surprise that they have the fourth-highest win% in all IPL, of 51.5.
Teams that have won the IPL once
Sunrisers Hyderabad (2016), Rajasthan Royals (2008) and Deccan Chargers (2009) have each won the IPL once each.
Out of the sides that are still playing, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Delhi Capitals (DC) have never managed to win a single IPL title. However, all of these teams have managed to qualify for the final at least once.
While the fans in India differ on who is the best team in IPL, the numbers certainly point to Mumbai Indians. The likes of CSK and KKR might run them close in the years to come but with the kind of team Mumbai have at their disposal, it might take some time before any of the franchises catch up with them.
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